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Santa’s Barn Find: Vintage 2-Person Sleigh

It isn’t unusual for us to see classics appear here at Barn Finds without a motor, but this one is a little bit different. I suspect that this beautiful sleigh has seen more than a Christmas or two, but it would make an excellent addition to any yard display, even as it currently stands. I mean, why have some plastic replica when you can have the real deal? If that sounds like a bit of a winner to you, then you will find this classic located in Galena, Ohio, and listed for sale here on Facebook. The owner has set the price at $800.

It would be easy to fill this article to the brim with jokes about this sleigh, but the reality is that it looks like it was built by someone who knew what they were doing. There is some excellent attention to detail, especially when you look at how some of the timber sections have been fabricated and shaped. I can’t see any visible signs of rot, and if it passes muster on a closer inspection, there is every chance that it could be restored and used once again. Even looking at what remains of the paint reveals some intricate scrolling and brushwork. I would love to see this restored to its former glory. Of course, it might be slightly on the small side to fit Santa and his sack of goodies, but it should be capable of transporting two people with relative ease.

One of the items that caught my eye when I looked at the photos that the owner supplies is the width of the drawbar. It seems like this is a sleigh designed to be hauled by either two horses or two reindeer. It’s common to see these 2-person sleighs dragged by a lone animal, so this one could potentially be kinder and easier on the livestock. Of course, you might want to drag this into the 21st Century by tethering a snowmobile to the front of it. That should keep the horsepower junkies happy but would undoubtedly destroy the atmosphere of a traditional sleigh ride. Still, it is something to think about. Me? I’d stick with tradition. All of life seems to be a rush these days, so the chance to relax a bit will never go astray.

I would love to think that someone will take this beautiful sleigh and treat it to a restoration. It looks like it was built with care and attention to detail, and to see it freshly painted with a couple of horses in harness would be a beautiful sight. Seeing this makes me feel that this is the right time to wish all of our readers a happy Christmas. I hope that it is filled with joy and laughter, and I hope you will have a wonderfully safe and prosperous 2021.


  1. Avatar photo Oregon_Guy78

    Great write up, Adam. When I lived in Eastern Oregon I’d see horses pulling sleighs
    Merry Christmas 🌲

    Like 7
  2. Avatar photo scott

    Throw in a small block Chevy.. or electrify it… No No No says Santa, nothing needed, leave ‘er just the way she is… maybe some evergreen sprigs.

    Like 4
  3. Avatar photo Moparman Member

    Needs a red paint job, and a “bordello red” velour interior, trimmed with white fur, LOL!! Merry Christmas to all!! :-)

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Lou Tripper

      Add a hot little redheaded elf and it’s jingle all the way!!!

      Like 7
      • Avatar photo Phlathead Phil

        Yes, and a new leather seat, with large cargo area.

        I heard all the reindeer are in quarantine, so the jolly old man outfitted his ride with new pullers…

        C’mon MoPar, on Chevy, gittup FoMoCo!

        Hope that elf ain’t wearing a mini skirt as we don’t need Santa distracted!

        Like 2
      • Avatar photo Joe

        I have found 8 reindeer and have been missing the sleigh! I will look no longer….It’s mine! LOL

        Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Tom71mustangs Member

    Wow- Great Item! A little late for this year, but I can see this sleigh commanding attention in a Christmas-themed store window display or Antique store. Great find. Merry Christmas everyone!

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Howie Mueler

      A little late? Its been posted for 6 months now.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Pete Starkey

        Bah humbug !

        Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Rodney - GSM

    Yes, Polaris was the ninth reindeer but you hardly ever hear about him…

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo angliagt Member

      I herd he flew off to Pluto…..

      Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Mark Member

    If I was close to Galena, this would be on my ranch! Fabulous, thanks for including the sleigh in the postings.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Brent

    Can we put an LS and a 6 speed into it?

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Mark D.

    In northern Vermont, I live in the former home of John Ryan, sleighmaker. There are many of his sleighs still in use. His wagons too. Some he would make, put them on a rail car, and ship them out to Sears and Roebuck. Circa 1860-90.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Al

      Is a rail car somewhat akin to a rail gun?

      Frohe Weihnachten an alle und ein gutes neues Jahr.

      Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year.

      Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Troy s

    Stick to the basics….L88, rockcrusher 4 speed, 4.11’s in the …in there somewhere. Happy holidays !

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Richardd Adams

      There you go poking fun and getting it wrong.
      The 4.11 will never work in the snow !
      I pray you all are healthy and keeping safe and that Santa does call around, even if he is a little late this year.

      Like 0
  10. Avatar photo lbpa18

    Unless one has a now unique skill set to pinstripe, this might be an expensive restoration. The wood looks surprisingly good given its age. But to repaint and try to replicate the hand painted finery, that might be a challenge. I think Id first try to resurrect what’s there with boiled linseed oil. It would rejuvenate the wood, cause whatever paint remains to pop out, and generally remove years of age, all without destroying any of the patina. At some later date it can always be painted red if that’s your thing. Looks quite nice though. Id have it in a heartbeat.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Phlathead Phil

      Nope! Tung Oil, my man, Tung Oil.

      Why? It has a polymer effect. The only natural oil that does.

      Try some Tung Oil on all your black plastic bumper parts and you will be AMAZED!!!

      Lasts too.

      Do it for Santa 🎅

      Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Kenn

    Nice to see this, along with other non-automotive items that have been here lately. Anything to minimize the appearance of so many corvettes. I fail to see why some are priced through the roof and others at pocket change, based apparently on engine size and/or rarity rather than looks, since they all look like the sport cars they are, and only an aficionado can place one more valuable than another as they roar down the street. IMHO.

    Like 2
  12. Avatar photo Marc

    WOWWWW!!! This is such an ultra rare find… I myself would love to know the history attached to this masterpiece…
    Magnificent craftsmanship indeed! I would love to see this sleigh fully restored… Same as cars they sure don’t make ’em like they used to… Good luck and Happy Holidays!!!

    Like 2
  13. Avatar photo Arby

    Over the river and through the woods….

    Like 2
  14. Avatar photo TED WALTHER

    This sleigh does have wonderful craftsmanship put into it, with the suggestions of MOPARMAN and gold leaf trim, this would be beautiful.

    Like 1
  15. Avatar photo TBall

    Drop a small block in it and drive the snot out of it. Merry Christmas Barn Finds family

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo angliagt Member

      How about just uprating it by using a Clydesdale?

      Like 0
  16. Avatar photo OGK

    Great, but did it run when parked? 🤣

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Phlathead Phil

      No, but the team of horses did!


      Like 0
  17. Avatar photo 86_Vette_Convertible

    If you listen hard, can you hear the Beach Boys singing “Little St. Nick”?
    When I see something like this, I think of some family lore. My grandparents lived on a farm in Iowa. Grandma got very sick and Grandpa got the horses and cutter out to get her to town, in the middle of the blizzard of the century. Roads were impassible, so Grandpa headed off cross country. The various neighbors cut fences to get them through. They made it, got to someone that had a vehicle and drove Grandma 20 miles to the hospital. Emergency surgery and they took out a grapefruit size tumor and a premature little girl (my aunt).
    When I was very young, my Uncle and his family (brother to my Mom & Aunt) lived on the farm, in the winter at times they’d get the cutter out of the machine shed and hook it up behind a tractor and take us kids in it around the farm yard.
    Always have good thoughts on sleds and cutters. Hope someone gets it and brings it back into all it’s glory.

    Like 4
  18. Avatar photo DavidL Member

    Two words: Rat rod! Hydraulics, lowered, chopped, channeled, patinaed.

    Like 0
  19. Avatar photo IkeyHeyman

    Reminds us where the term “horsepower” came from.

    Like 0
  20. Avatar photo Kenneth Carney

    Would make a great display item for your outdoor Christmas light show.
    Something you can sit in while you wave
    at your neighbors and the onlookers
    driving by looking at your handiwork.
    But I live in Florida and would have no
    real use for it. Only thing I know is that
    I like it, I like it a lot! Merry Christmas

    Like 0
  21. Avatar photo Joe S

    No mention of survivor status?…

    Like 0
  22. Avatar photo Jay E. Member

    “but it would make an excellent addition to any yard display, even as it currently stands”

    YARD DISPLAY? Seriously? Take a well preserved 100+ year old handbuilt piece of Americana and leave it outside? I’m not sure you realize how special these sleighs are. This has (fortunately) been kept dry in a barn and has somehow been preserved so that future generations can enjoy it. Yes, it should be restored and used, but taken care of like the treasure it is.

    If it were near me it would be sold and in my barn. Beautiful…

    Like 2

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